In this article, we’re going to talk about the two newest Sony OLED TVs for 2018, the A8F over here and the A9F and talk about what’s different between the two and why you might choose one over the other. The first difference is probably the most obvious, which is their design. The A8F sits on a stand and it’s basically positioned at about 90 degrees, which is typical of any other TV. Any other TV except the A9F, which has an easel style design which causes the TV to tilt slightly upwards.
Now, I’ve never had a problem with this design as it really doesn’t because the image to change at all but there are some people out there who don’t care for it. And I get it. It’s different. But the picture isn’t affected, just the design. Both can be mounted on the wall, too, and they both look almost identical when that’s the case.
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Another notable difference is in their audio systems. They both use Sony’s acoustic glass technology and both have dual subwoofer to supply the bass, but the A9F is more powerful and it gets a third channel dedicated to vocal so dialogue sounds better, too. Not only that, but you also get an analog connection on the back of the A9F that allows the acoustic glass to act as the center channel in a bigger sound system if you’re going to be hooking it up to a receiver.
This isn’t saying that the A8F audio is bad by any means. In fact, it’s much better than most of the other TVs out there right now. It’s just not quite as full as the A9F. Physical inputs between the two are almost identical. However, there’s a few differences to note outside of that analog audio input on the A9F. They both have four HDMI ends but on the A8F, there’s HDCP 2.2 and on the A9F they’re 2.3. Also, the audio return channel is a little bit different. The A9F has an enhanced audio return channel which allows transfer of uncompressed audio where the A8F has a standard audio return channel. So no uncompressed audio files being transferred back.
Now, let’s talk about the picture. First off, these both offer great pictures but there are some differences and those differences start with the processors. The A8F uses Sony’s X1 Extreme processor, which can read up to 15 objects in the scene and enhance things about them, like color and contrast and HDR upscaling. The A9F uses the X1 Ultimate, which can enhance the same things but it can do it on hundreds of objects on the screen, which allows for enhancement of even finer details.
I’m not sure how clearly it’ll come across through a video of the two next to one another but you can tell the difference in person when you’re watching the same scene. The A9F also has pixel contrast booster which allows the white pixel to be turned on and off in scenes where there’s extremely bright spots, like when you see a firework on the TV and it keeps them looking more natural. The other picture difference to note is that the A8F is capable of playing back Dolby Vision, the A9F, again right now, cannot but that’s only going to be for a small window as Sony is going to be updating the A9F to be compatible soon.
Now, another thing the A9F has at the moment that the A8F doesn’t is the Netflix calibration mode which is designed to work specifically with Netflix content to improve the picture quality. I’m not sure whether that’ll get implemented on the A8F in the future, though as it does seem like the processor is what allows that stuff to happen and they’re different processors.
Lastly, there’s some differences in the operating systems. The A8F is still running the last generation of Android that most of the other Sony TV smart TVs are running. It’s decent but can be a little laggy at times. The A9F has the new Android O operating system which speeds things up a great deal and it smooths out the menus and apps. It’s supposed to be trickling down to other Sony Android TVs in the future but we don’t know the time table on that quite yet. So for the time being, the A9F has the far better operating system.
One other thing to note in regards to smart features is the A9F can be used as a hands free Google device simply by saying “Hey Google”. That feature can be turned off for those that don’t want it but the only way to use Google on the A8F is by pressing a button on the remote.
So why pick one over the other? Well, the A8F will save you a good chunk of money. And it’s still got a great picture and way above average sound. Plus, if you’re looking for something with Dolby Vision that you can use right away, here it is. The A9F, although more of an investment, offers the more powerful processor for those looking for the better overall picture and a better sound system along with that hands free Google feature. So which one would you pick?